Michael Wall homered and went 3-for-4 and Ben Ballew had an auspicious varsity debut as the McDowell Titans beat the Watauga Pioneers 6-1 Thursday in a non-conference game suspended due to rain the previous day.
Ballew took over on the mound for starter Canaan Silver, who worked 2 2/3 innings before the rain stopped the game Wednesday in Boone. Ballew, who pitched 4 1/3 innings of scoreless ball Thursday, got the win. He gave up five hits, struck out eight and walked two. Ballew also went 2-for-2 at the plate and was one of five Titans to drive in a run.
McDowell broke a scoreless tie with a four-run third inning and never looked back. Sydney Pike had a two-run single, Ethan Wyatt an RBI basehit and Riley Harting a run-scoring single in the frame. Dylan Grindstaff (double), Wall and Matthew Moss also hit safely in the third.
Watauga got an unearned run off Silver (2 2/3 IP, 2H, 1R, 2K, BB) in the bottom of the third to trim the lead to 4-1.
But Wall got the run back with his solo bomb to left field in the fifth.
Ballew added an RBI single in the top of the seventh.
Grindstaff went 2-for-4 with a double. Wyatt (1-for-4, RBI), Pike (1-for-3, 2RBIs, BB), Harting (1-for-2, RBI, 2BB), Moss (1-for-1) and Troy Sheperd (1-for-3) also hit safely.
Hamilton Castle went 2-for-3 and drove in the Pioneers’ only run.
August Sauls took the loss. He pitched 4 1/3 innings and gave up five runs on eight hits. He struck out three and walked three.